Mauricio Herrera Mr. Hackney Rhetoric 101 15 October 2013 Monsters Vs. Robots Vs. Film Critics Director Guillermo del Toro is a critically renowned director. The subject of his films vary from his popular culture hits such as Hellboy and the rest of the Hellboy franchise telling the story of a demon comic book hero, to his high-cultural films such as Pan’s Labyrinth set in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. His latest effort, Pacific Rim, tells the story of mankind sometime in the future, where kaijus, large alien monsters, come up from the sea and wreak havoc. Humankind battled the monsters with the military, ultimately realizing that they needed something bigger. Their only option left was to create humongous robots called jaegers, fitted with plasma cannons and long swords in order to fight them. Despite being a box office hit worldwide, the film was received poorly by critics. Critics Rene Rodriguez from the Miami herald and Christopher Orr of the Atlantic reviewed Pacific Rim, and the two critics agree on the fact that the characters are underdeveloped, and that the movie is visually stunning, but the critics’ reviews differ in that Orr’s lengthy review touches on how the film is primed for international audiences and Rodriguez’s review is much shorter and does not analyze how the film is produced with international audiences in mind. The two critics agree that the characters are not very well constructed, with Orr stating that the cast is “second tier” and “drab” and that the names of the characters are terrible. He makes a short criticism that the main character Raleigh Becket is simply a “generic Caucasian American hero.” Orr comments that while watching the film the viewer spends “far too much
time getting to not know” the characters. He explains that the movie-goer is there for the robots and the monsters, and not the “awkwardly manufactured interpersonal conflict” that is shown in the film. In comparison with this review, Rodriguez criticizes the uninteresting characters that he calls “stock types.” He explains that these types of characters work well in these types of films because “you don’t have time to notice how two dimensional the characters are.” Rodriguez finally states that despite del Toro’s efforts of creating dynamic and emotional characters, they simply remain “uninteresting” characters such as “the daredevil hero, his jealous rival, the stoic captain, and the vulnerable heroine.” The common theme between the two critics’ review of the characters being that for movies such as these, there should be more focus on the action instead of the characters that were not meant for so much screen time. Another point the reviews touch on is that despite the bad bits of the film, it excels at what it set out to do: creating intense battle scenes between monsters and robots. Orr comments that “the visual effects are extraordinary.” He states that the final half hour of the film is “spectacular.” Orr then describes the scene early in the film as “irresistibly kinetic and immersive.” Rodriguez describes some sequences in the movie that are simply “awesome.” He says of the film that it contains some of the “wildest, giddiest sights of any movie this summer.” He finally says of the film that “every time you are about to check out of the movie, something cool happens that pulls you back in.” Although the two critics agree on the films poor character development and actionpacked scenes, Rodriguez fails to discuss the aspect of international audiences. Orr’s review identifies del Toro’s intent for a foreign audience. He explains that the reasoning behind the bad plot and limited comedy are because of the film’s “international marketing strategy.” The film limits the comedy, because it does not often translate, and focuses less on the plot and more on
the visuals in order to appeal to all viewers. Orr decides that Pacific Rim executes many of the clichés of the surrounding films with international audiences in mind such as “brother avenging brother” and does away with themes involving “honor or glory”. Because of Orr’s more in depth review, he explains del Toro’s motive for creating the film in this way. Rodriguez’s review is simply short and to the point, not dwelling on other themes or ideas, he simply reviews the film and gives us short criticisms. Despite having a flimsy plot, and badly developed characters, the film excels at delivering its main selling point: robots punching monsters. Although the critics Rodriguez and Orr disagree on whether the film is designed for foreign viewers, they can both agree the poor characters do not outshine the fantastic special effects and utterly stunning battle scenes.
Works Cited Orr, Christopher. "A Beautiful, Disappointing Pacific Rim." Theatlantic.com. N.p., 12 July 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Rodriguez, Rene. "Pacific Rim A Monster Mash With Robots." Miami.com. N.p., 11 July 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Toro, Guillermo Del, dir. Pacific Rim. Legendary Pictures, 2013. Film.